With the exception of Livius Andronicus, the earliest of the creators of
Latin literature. Naevius was born probably in Campania. In his youth he
served in the first Punic war, made his first appearance at Rome as a dramatic
writer in 235 BC, and continued his activity for thirty
years. Of his life we know little, save that he was decidely attached to
the plebian party, and in his plays satirized and lampooned the Roman nobles.
He incurred especially the hostility of the Metelli, and was imprisoned
by them, as described in a passage from Miles Gloriosus of Plautus.
He was ultimately obliged to retire to Utica in Africa, where he eventually
died. Besides his dramatic writings, comprising both tragedies and comedies,
he wrote an epic poem, De Bello Punico, in the old Saturnian meter.
His work bore the stamp of the national genius, and its vigor and invention
won the admiration of Cicero and Horace. Only a few unimportant fragments